Red Wings Need Shootout to Down Blackhawks

Icing their “A” team, the Detroit Red Wings still needed a shootout to defeat the “B” team of the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday night, picking up a 4-3 victory in the tiebreaker.

Todd Bertuzzi scored a highlight-reel goal and Henrik Zetterberg added another with only Brandon Pirri scoring for Chicago.

Detroit had led 2-0 and 3-1 but the Blackhawks rallied both times.

Valtteri Filppula opened the game’s scoring, snapping a shot from the high slot past Alexander Salak on a Detroit power play at 7:35 of the first period.

Zetterberg made it 2-0 with 47 seconds left in the period, snapping a shot over Salak from in close off a feed from Johan Franzen.

Pirri scored his first of two goals shorthanded at 7:32 of the second, blasting a shot from the top of the left circle past Ty Conklin, off the post and in.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 3-1 with Detroit’s second power play goal of the night just 1:23 later. Just as a five-on-three expired, he took a pass at the top of the right faceoff circle from Ian White and rifled it past Salak.

Jimmy Hayes pulled the Hawks to back within one with 3:59 left in the middle period, beating Conklin from right in front after being left all alone to take a pass from Ben Smith.

Pirri tied the game at 9:33 of the third, capitalizing on a Brendan Smith turnover. Smith gave the puck up to Hayes in the right circle who worked it on to Pirri in the slot for a shot past Conklin.

The Red Wings are next in action on Tuesday night when they’re in Grand Rapids for their second Red & White game of the preseason. The next night they’ll be in Chicago for a rematch with the Blackhawks.


Detroit lost forward Jan Mursak to a fractured ankle when he crashed awkwardly into the boards in the second period. He is expected to miss two months.

Postgame Thoughts: Blackhawks @ Red Wings – 9/25

Now that I’ve finally got a chance to put my thoughts down, let’s go back to Detroit’s 4-3 SO win over the Chicago Blackhawks…

Getting the most painful thing out of the way first we go to Jan Mursak‘s injury. He went into the boards right in front of me so I lucked out in not seeing how his leg bent, but you could tell by how he was helped off that it wasn’t a small thing. They’re saying he’ll miss two months (likely starting with a rehab stint in Grand Rapids). You have to think that means Fabian Brunnstrom or Ryan Johnson will make the team in his spot now.

Also painful, the fact that for the second time this preseason, Detroit’s “A” team needed a shootout to beat their opponent’s “B” team. The Wings just shot themselves in the foot too often tonight. It’s not going to work out in their favor when they’re up against a better team.

Tonight it seemed like the Detroit D (the entire team, really, but it was especially noticeable in their own end) was being a little too crafty with their passing. Specifically, using these little touch passes with not enough touch, so the puck didn’t quite get where it was intended to go.

While we’re talking negatives, Ty Conklin didn’t look all that good tonight. The first goal probably shouldn’t have happened, maybe not the second either, and there were two solid Chicago chances that went off the post. That said, he made a great shorthanded stop on Michal Frolik in the second, so it wasn’t like he was awful.

Detroit’s top line of Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen looked really good. Filppula had three points on the night and Zetterberg had the shootout winner but aside from that they were moving the puck well and getting chances.

The pairing of Nicklas Lidstrom and Ian White looks good, too. They seem to have a little chemistry already and White has a shot from the point that I think will fit in well on this team.

Aside from that, there were a few individual plays I really liked.

Gustav Nyquist had a couple rushes where he just jumped through a bunch of defenders to get the puck into the zone. He’s got some speed and can really handle the puck. An example of the latter would be his near-goal in the second period. He came out of a mess of people at the side of the goal with the puck. Either both teams thought the play would be stopped or no one actually saw him get it, ’cause he was all alone but just couldn’t finish.

Cory Emmerton, centering Nyquist and Brunnstrom, is growing on me. I kept watching Brunnstrom, wanting to be impressed, and it seemed like it was Emmerton doing all the work.

Brunnstrom clearly has talent. I can’t say what he’s doing wrong but something isn’t clicking. I think he’s worth a two-way contract as long as he’s kept on a short leash.

Jakub Kindl needs to shoot more. Common refrain from last year hasn’t changed.

That’s all I’ve got for right now. I’ll post a link when I get my photos from the game loaded into the site but I’m updating the multimedia section right now so I might finish that first. In the meantime, here’s my favorite from the night:

Red Wings Announce Lineups for Opening Preseason Games

Per Ansar Khan, the Red Wings have revealed their rosters for the first two games of the 2011 exhibition season.

The Red Wings will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night with the following lines:

Jiri HudlerPavel DatsyukDanny Cleary
Fabian BrunnstromCory EmmertonPatrick Eaves
Drew MillerRyan JohnsonJan Mursak
Tomas TatarChris ConnerTomas Holmstrom

Niklas KronwallBrad Stuart
Brendan SmithMike Commodore
Garnet ExelbyLogan Pyett

Jimmy Howard
Joey MacDonald

On Thursday Detroit will be in London, Ontario, to play the Philadelphia Flyers. Their lineup for that game will be as follows:

Valtteri FilppulaHenrik ZetterbergJohan Franzen
Justin AbdelkaderDarren HelmTodd Bertuzzi
Gustav NyquistJoakim AnderssonWillie Coetzee
Tomas JurcoBrent RaedekeFrancis Pare

Nicklas LidstromIan White
Jonathan EricssonJakub Kindl
Brian LashoffDoug Janik

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce

No lineup has been announced for the Wings’ preseason home opener on Friday, where Detroit will host the Flyers.

New Red Wings Numbers

I’m getting to this a little late, but yesterday Bill Roose tweeted the sweater numbers for the newest Red Wings.

This marks the second year in a row that I didn’t get my number predictions out before the actual news was released. I feel a little bad as a jersey number geek but at least this way I don’t have to deal with the fact that I would have been wrong.

The biggest news is that Mike Commodore will wear #22, not the punny #64 that had been suggested. I’m not one of the people who thought him wearing #64 would have been the end of the world but I do think it brought extra distraction, so I like him going with his usual number.

What I think is the biggest surprise is that Ian White will wear #18. White had previously worn #7, #3 and #9 in his NHL career, and with #3 available in Detroit I thought he’d go with that. As fans, it’s another sign that we’ll have to come to terms with some important numbers being made available for future use.

As Malik points out, Brendan Shanahan‘s #14 and Chris Chelios‘ #24 have already been handed out so Maltby’s number being available is just a fact of life. It’s probably only a matter of time until #33 and #30 are worn again. Brian Lashoff has already worn #25 in camp.

Speaking of #24, I expect Logan Pyett to take it this year, with the #22 he wore at camp last year now belonging to Commodore.

With White not taking #3, it goes to Garnet Exelby, who is likely to spend the entire season in Grand Rapids anyway. Griffins-bound forward Chris Connor with take the #41 abandoned by Ilari Filppula. I’d expected him to go with #15.

Rounding out the new acquisitions, Ty Conklin will return to the #29 he wore in his first stint with the Wings.

No number changes for current Red Wings were mentioned. I don’t expect any this year but I always wonder about Justin Abdelkader switching to the #89 he wore at Mona Shores. I heard a rumor he was set to switch a couple years ago and don’t know what happened to change that.

Red Wings Free Agency Week in Review

We’re one week into the NHL free agency season and the Red Wings have seemingly made all the moves they expected to make, aside from signing a backup goaltender. Let’s take a look at each signing.

Jonathan Ericsson
Ericsson’s three-year term and $3.25 million annual salary rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way when this deal was announced the night before free agency opened. Detroit is clearly paying for potential here, as they have more faith in Ericsson’s continued development than the fanbase does. If Ericsson develops as the team hopes, this is a good deal given the market. If not, this is a rare mistake for Ken Holland.

Patrick Eaves
The Red Wings kept one of their top penalty killing forwards by signing Eaves just before free agency opened. $1.2 million doesn’t break the bank and the three-year term is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a very Kris Draper-like deal for a Draper-like player.

Drew Miller
Miller had said he was intent on testing the free agency waters but re-upped with Detroit a short time into free agency with a two-year deal worth $1.675 million. I have to think he could have gotten more on the open market – at least $1 million per year – so I wonder if the two years is what sold him on returning to the Wings.

Mike Commodore
Commodore hasn’t had good things to say about Mike Babcock in the past so this move seemed like it came out of nowhere to me. Add in the fact that he’s slotted to be a #5 / #6 defenseman, which the Wings already have several of (Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, Doug Janik) and it’s that much more of a surprise. That said, Smith could use another season in Grand Rapids playing top-pair minutes and Janik may have never really been an option, even with the one-way contract he’s on this year. Commodore provides size and grit on the blueline and might be able to teach Ericsson a thing or two. After being bought out by the Blue Jackets, he has a chip on his shoulder.

Ian White
I like the White signing. As two years with a cap hit of $2.875, it’s a good deal for a replacement for Niklas Kronwall, who moves up to replace the retired Brian Rafalski. With no real replacement for Rafalski available via free agency, the Wings chose to promote from within and then replace the promoted Kronwall. White’s a solid puck-mover with a right-handed shot who should fit in nicely on the now-complete Detroit blueline.

Garnet Exelby
A big body for Grand Rapids, I liked Exelby when he broke into the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers but he really hasn’t done much in his career. He should never see time in Detroit but he’s a good depth signing just in case.

Logan Pyett
Pyett seems to be going nowhere in the Detroit system but he fits in Grand Rapids. Another blueliner unlikely to see time with the Wings.

Chris Conner
Brought over from the Penguins, Conner is signed to a two-way deal and expected to push Cory Emmerton for the last forward spot in Detroit. He’s small and fast and works hard in the corners, something the Wings organization likes. He’ll have to clear waivers to go to Grand Rapids, but so will Emmerton so one of those two could be lost.

Jordan Pearce
Nothing has been confirmed but there are reports that Pearce was re-signed for two more years. He outplayed Thomas McCollum at the end of the Griffins’ season last year and was apparently convinced to keep playing hockey rather than pursue his medical degree.

Red Wings Add Defenseman White

The Detroit Red Wings added their second defenseman in as many days on Saturday, inking Ian White to a two-year deal.

Financial terms were not announced but the contract is reportedly worth $2.875 million per season.

White split the 2010-11 season between the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, and San Jose Sharks. In 78 games he scored four goals and added 22 assists.

The move comes a day after Detroit added Mike Commodore as the Red Wings look to replace Brian Rafalski on the blue line.

Detroit now has just over $7 million in cap space for the coming season, with only a backup goaltender left to sign.

Red Wings Drop Game Two to Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings dropped to 0-2 in their Western Conference Semifinal matchup with the San Jose Sharks Sunday afternoon after a 2-1 loss in Game Two of the series.

The Red Wings failed to get any sustained pressure until a power play late in the game.

Henrik Zetterberg scored with 6:02 remaining in regulation, beating goaltender Antti Niemi from the slot off a feed from Pavel Datsyuk. The goal got the Red Wings on the board but despite a late push, wouldn’t be enough.

Ian White had opened the game’s scoring just 4:54 into the game, blasting a shot from the high slot past a screened Jimmy Howard for a power play goal.

Niclas Wallin extended the San Jose lead at 1:39 of the third period when his shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went off of Howard’s shoulder and flipped into the net.

The Sharks carried play for most of the game, with Detroit relying on Howard to keep them in it. Howard made 35 saves on 37 shots while Niemi stopped 33 of 34 chances.

Each team scored a power play goal. The Red Wings had six tries with the extra attacker and San Jose had five.

The teams will meet for Game Three in Detroit on Wednesday.